Last week, I drove 13 hours to Austin for a five-day training with my girl Sadie Nardini. Somewhere in southern Louisiana, with the sun beating down on the car and seven more hours to go, I started to wonder if it was worth such an epic road trip. But, as she always does, Sadie delivered. I had an amazing week of learning, loving, and fun. By Sunday night, I couldn’t wait to get back home and share everything I’d learned. Here are my top five Core lessons from my trip out West.
- What exactly it means to “press your feet.” How many times have you heard a teacher say “press your feet down” or “ground your feet into the earth”? Have you ever actually felt it? Try this: Come to Mountain Pose and think about pressing the two front corners of your feet down, then the center of your heel. Now lift the toes and spread them a little. Think about pressing those three points down again. Feel the difference? The bonus to that action is that it activates the inner arches for the foot, which draws the energy up into the inner thighs and the Deep Core Muscle Meridian. Powerful stuff!
- How important it is to get earthy. Between almost every pose, Sadie says, “Get closer to your earth.” This means getting lower by bending the arms, the legs, or both. Getting closer to the earth frees up the pelvis into proper alignment and allows you to gather up momentum to move into the pose with a minimal amount of effort. And who doesn’t want to work less?
- How to rock a handstand using physics. Handstand is the ultimate challenge pose for most yogis. Usually, we come to Down Dog and start kicking one leg up. This results in what I call the “fling and wiggle.” The joints are unstable, the hips are out of alignment, and momentum is working against you. Instead, try coming to a shortened Down Dog and step one foot under the hip. Lift the other leg out behind you and keep it solid, but don’t kick with it. Bend the elbows straight back, like in Chatturanga, and bend the standing leg to get everything closer to the earth. Press everything in the foundation down and lift up through the Deep Core Line. Now momentum is working for you and it feels more like a press up than a kick. (Don’t worry, we’ll be rocking this in class a lot in the future!)
- Step into your Truth and your tribe will surround you. This is one of many Sadie-isms that have really resonated with me. In my class, I talk a lot about being authentic: authentic movement, authentic voice, authentic choices, etc. But choosing to express authenticity is scary, especially if you’ve been less than authentic in the past. It’s normal to fear you might be rejected for living your truth. But when you open up and express yourself authentically, other authentic souls are drawn to you and want to support you. And then you can create healthy, honest relationships from that authentic place. Way better than hanging on to old toxic relationships out of fear, right?
- The Universe provides amazing opportunities if you’re open to them.On the way to Austin, I made a deal with the Universe to be totally open to whatever opportunities and lessons might come along with this road trip. As the training
progressed, Hurricane Sandy made its approach to the East Coast, resulting in Sadie’s assistant Laurel having to fly home a day early to beat the weather. Long story short, Sadie asked me to fill in on assisting and demoing. Assisting for my favorite teacher was a total dream-come-true moment that will hopefully lead to more opportunities in the future. As I’m learning over and over, it’s amazing what happens when you’re open and willing to say yes.
There were other misadventures, both yoga-related and not. There were laughs and challenges on the mat. There were long, loud dinners at French restaurants and boat tours on the river. There was an amazing vegan cafe and a fabulous new yoga soul-sister from out West. In the end, the drive and—saying yes to adventure—were absolutely worth it.